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Renovatio 10-19-2008 11:03 AM

Question on buying a new laptop
 
Hi, I've just joined, a friend of mine sent me here with my query.

I'm looking to buy a new laptop. I've used plenty of laptops, but I've never owned one. I've used a lot of high-end computers I've had rented and sent home for my video editing work, and I've played with Avids plenty as well. I'm still sitting on a close-to-obsolete 733mhz 128mb RAM p3 I got in 2000.

I require a laptop. I'm not the kind of person to change my hardware like underwear, I like to get the maximum use out of my technology in a day and age where hardware seems to be designed to not last. Granted, dragging a desktop for 8 years is a bit of a stretch, not to mention my phone (a 3+ year old Nokia 6255 CDMA on its last leg). As far as money goes, considering how I space my purchases, spending close to 3000USD on the aforementioned desktop those eight years ago, when the selfsame was the creme de la creme of desktops, I could consider a smart purchase.

Keeping that in mind, I require a laptop that would last me fairly efficiently for about 3-5 years. I need it to be powerful enough to handle the occasional video editing work, that being in HDV and Digi-Beta, and I do my fair share of work on Photoshop and Corel Draw as well.

That being the higher end of effort I'd expect out of a laptop, I'd like the basic onboard bluetooth and wifi that wouldn't be susceptible to uninstalling itself at random, and out of that, basic connectivity with any future phones I purchase, as well as access to the internet, where I could view and manipulate high resolution photos, as well as heavier script-oriented PDF files, and of course, basic word processing to make the aforementioned scripts and screenplays, and blogging.

With that, I also watch and study lots of films, though I understand pretty much any computer can handle films. For that reason I would definitely like something around 15 inches for a screen. I would also require an adequate DVD burner present on my laptop.

I also enjoy my fair share of gaming. While I'm not up to date with some of the latest games (the most somewhat recently launched game I would've played would be San Andreas) due to the age and use my desktop has provided me, I've relegated myself to lower-end games. I'd expect my new laptop to be able to handle at the very least Source games, and hopefully Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 when they launch. Due to the nature of my work and travel, I don't expect a desktop to be a prudent purchase.

I was wondering what laptop would best suit me for all the uses I've outlined above. I've had my eye on the new 15-inch macbook pro (the 2.53ghz model), but for its cost I was wondering how prudent a purchase that might be. I've used macs before, but to a limited degree, mostly just FCP, Finder and Toast. I understand windows can also be used on a mac, and while I detest Vista, I would be willing to install XP on a mac. I have been using windows for close to 15 years now, but my limited fumbling with other peoples' macs has sparked my interest, and I've read enough guides to using macs to understand the mistakes I could make as a first time Windows-to-mac user.

Beyond this particular macbook, I don't know what else is available in terms of laptops. I've heard plenty from people who've loved macs and switched to them completely. From what I understand (and I am very likely wrong) Macs are more robust, more reliable, have better support, fewer bugs, and are overall faster and more efficient than Windows-based computers, and as a few people have actually showed me, Windows on bootcamp seemed to run better on their macbooks and macbook pros than on a regular laptop. One con I have picked up on is the glossiness of the new screens on the macbooks and macbook pros. Is it really that unbearable?

Perhaps this reads more like I want the macbook pro, but want to know if it's really worth the 2500 USD price tag, and if it'll last me for the 3-5 years I want it to, and if I can get everything I want to out of it. That's actually a good way of looking at it. I mostly would like to know if macs are the be-all and end-all in terms of reliable computing, or if I can get the same quality and reliability in a PC-based laptop as well.

Fearful of sounding redundant, I'd like to outline my query. I want a new laptop which does everything the new macbooks are said to, as efficiently and reliably. All my intended uses are mentioned, and I'm somewhat fixated on this macbook. Am I getting value for money, or can I get the same or better in PC-based laptop for the same amount of money or less?

Any comments would be highly appreciated.

CrimsonRequiem 10-19-2008 11:49 AM

Sounds like you are hesitant to switch.

Read this. Not a great article or anything but sounds like you guys are very similar situation.

I would totally go for the MBP. I kind of gave up on the glossy screen debate for photography, and graphic design color accuracy deal. For the most part I'm always hooked up to an external monitor in the first place and that is color calibrated.

Renovatio 10-19-2008 12:51 PM

Actually, over the last couple of hours and a lot more R&D, I'm pretty much decided on getting a mac book pro. Only question now is will I get the second 15" new one, or the last 17" one out of the refurbished models (old one).

bad.heron 10-19-2008 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Renovatio (Post 742853)
Actually, over the last couple of hours and a lot more R&D, I'm pretty much decided on getting a mac book pro. Only question now is will I get the second 15" new one, or the last 17" one out of the refurbished models (old one).

A 17" is more of a desktop replacement. Get the 15" if you want it for mobility.

Renovatio 10-20-2008 05:56 AM

I'm down to my final two.

Either
The 15" 2.4 ghz macbook pro
The only customizations I'll make are upping the RAM to 4GB, and opting for a 7200RPM 250GB hard disk.

(though I may still be looking at the 2.53ghz model for the 512mb graphics)

OR

The Sager NP5793 Currently $600 off.
The customizations I'll be making here are opting for the 1920X1200 resolution screen, and the Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Link.

That's $1892 (with student discount) for the MBP, and $1471 for the Sager.

I just can't decide.

Renovatio 10-20-2008 05:56 AM

Double post, sorry.

skierbri10 10-20-2008 08:59 AM

Personally, I think the $400 difference is worth it. I am a video editor and wont use anything but a Mac. Take my opinion with a grain of salt as I am a bit biased. The thing to know from me is that I am a recent convert to Mac, within the last year. I will never go back to MS unless something very drastic happens.

CrimsonRequiem 10-20-2008 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Renovatio (Post 743309)
I'm down to my final two.

Either
The 15" 2.4 ghz macbook pro
The only customizations I'll make are upping the RAM to 4GB, and opting for a 7200RPM 250GB hard disk.

(though I may still be looking at the 2.53ghz model for the 512mb graphics)

OR

The Sager NP5793 Currently $600 off.
The customizations I'll be making here are opting for the 1920X1200 resolution screen, and the Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Link.

That's $1892 (with student discount) for the MBP, and $1471 for the Sager.

I just can't decide.

Meh...I wouldn't upgrade the HDD from Apple. The RAM maybe because DDR3 is still kind of expensive. I checked around and found some for 145-700 dollars for 4GB. >_>""" Plus some of the companies that manufacture memory are still behind. IE Corsair, Kingston, and Mushkin don't have any DDR3 Sodimms T_T"".

The HDD you can get a 320GB 7200RPM for like 109 bucks over at Newegg for Wester Digital or Sea Gate.

It still bothers me that the MBP 15" can't get high res like some of the other Window based Notebooks. >_<" That's probably the only thing I'm envious about.

RD423 10-20-2008 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skierbri10 (Post 743343)
Personally, I think the $400 difference is worth it. I am a video editor and wont use anything but a Mac. Take my opinion with a grain of salt as I am a bit biased. The thing to know from me is that I am a recent convert to Mac, within the last year. I will never go back to MS unless something very drastic happens.

Me 2, I would never switch back, I am building a somewhat cheap windows based desktop just 2 game on. But not sure if I'm even going to do that.

cwa107 10-20-2008 02:19 PM

If you can tolerate Windows, my recommendation would be a Windows notebook. There is no need to learn the eccentricities of a new OS just because you're in the market for a new computer. Mac OS X is an excellent operating system, and the MacBook Pro is a great machine, but you are paying a premium for the luxury of running OS X. If you don't approach the new machine with an open mind because you're used to Windows, you may find yourself disappointed. But if you are willing to invest the time to learn it, you'll find OS X to be very rewarding.

If in fact you are leaning toward a Windows notebook, give the Dell XPS M1530 a serious look - it's a very nice machine and can match the MBP feature-for-feature for a few hundred dollars less. I've heard that Sager makes a decent notebook, but they are a relatively small player - and parts and service may be difficult to come by should there be a problem.

shfle 10-20-2008 05:28 PM

As you are intending to keep this computer for a good number of years, ask yourself this question (Sorry for the play on words of the stupidest interview question of all time):-

Where do you see Microsoft/Windows in 5 years time?

Renovatio 10-22-2008 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shfle (Post 743548)
As you are intending to keep this computer for a good number of years, ask yourself this question (Sorry for the play on words of the stupidest interview question of all time):-

Where do you see Microsoft/Windows in 5 years time?

I decided against Mac this time around, maybe next time.

cwa107 10-22-2008 09:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Renovatio (Post 744557)
I decided against Mac this time around, maybe next time.

Probably a good move. Have a look at the Dell XPS M1530 as I mentioned previously. I've done some upgrade work on one of these machines and they're just awesome. Great design, easy to upgrade or work on and very snappy for a decent price.


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